There are many talents all over the musical map but you can’t just throw a bunch of them together and expect a show to go smoothly. It takes the melding of vibes on and off the stage to really pull that off. Especially when you are trying to blend an artist with a live band which inevitably will create a sound much different then fans may have been use to hearing. However, when you gather the right artists, the right band and the right DJ’s and of course the right behind the scenes people, the outcome can illuminate ones soul and make even the most skeptic into a dedicated music lover. This successful blend of sounds can also be credited to the fact that Los Rakas, New Kingston Live and Collie Buddz are all Reggae Crossover artists. This would be defined by an artist(s) who has the ability to create songs which range goes from one chat to the next.
To open the show Los Rakas delivered a performance well worth discussion. Opening peoples eyes to the diversity and showing off their talents as crossover artists. The duo, DunDun and Rico, originally from Panama, have a way of fusing Dancehall, Reggae and HipHop using English and Spanish vocals. In the past they have shared the stage with luminaries, such as, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, Murs and many more. And although Toronto may not have been completely ready for what Los Rakas and Nima Fadavi (the DJ who performed with them) had in store never the less, Los Rakas as well as Nima, opened the minds of the musical culture in Toronto who accepted them with open arms. From the whispers herd after the show they are now loved by those who were once unaware and respected by those who thought they knew.
As Los Rakas and Nima packed up their set and New Kingston set up theirs, the crowd whispered in anticipation of what was next in line. New Kingston Live hit the stage and the crowd roared for their new classic sound making it almost impossible for you to not want to be in Jamaica. The New Kingston trio has toured with Collie Buddz before along side Slightly Stoopid and CypusHill for the Legalize it Tour among many other performances. New Kingston in a vocal and instrumental group made up of 3 brothers. Tahir (a.k.a. SLIM) is the youngest of the three and is featured on Keyboards/Vocals. Courtney is the middle brother who is on Drums/Vocals and Stephen (a.k.a SUKI) who the oldest brother and features on Guitar/Vocals. The guys father also performs with the group on Bass and had the Toronto fans blessing his talents. The group performed songs from their newest album “in the streets” as well as some classics for the ladies. And to top it off they tributed Mr. Michael Jackson.
DJ PeeWee is a one of a kind at what he does, the energy level and hype he brings to the stage is vital. Some underestimate his importance on the stage but after seeing it live you can’t envision what the show would be like without him. He quickly turned the crowd from cheering for New Kingston to chanting for Collie Buddz. Through out the show his role on stage remains just as important. Filling in the blanks where ever needed, hyping the crown for things he is aware are upcoming. And to add a little life to the show he and Collie run through skits (so to speak) like bringing Los Rakas back on stage or bringing out BlackaDiDanca to show Collie Buddz a few moves which inevitable causes giggles amongst the audience.
Collie Buddz, although using a set list, has an original flare depending on the vibe coming from the crowd. Performing classic songs from his self entitled debut album as well as new songs off the PlaybackEP, the crowd, both males and females were going nuts. Collie Buddz has a stage presences that can be seen herd and felt. Collie, I’m sure is aware of what kind of supporter I am and how much respect I have for him but after his show somehow I respect him more and wish that there were more ways to support him.
Tuesday April 12th 2011 and life as I know it would no longer be the same.
- There are a whole team of people who deserve credit for the PlaybackTour other then the performers them selves. In no particular order;
Lady Alexis - the background singer for Collie Buddz who is an absolute sweet heart and I must say if there is any woman who has to be a part of that crew it nice that its her. Her voice works well with Collie and she is just as warm to be around as the rest of the guys.
Kevin - the road manager who is one of the funniest silliest guys I’ve met. He can make a room full of people smile and although he isn’t needed on stage to perform he can be seen on stage taking care of his crew members or bugging them throwing towels at them while they work !! (lol)
Igor - the unspoken father figure of the crew who essentially takes care of the boys and hypothetically tucks them into bed at night. He is also the Label Manager for Ineffable Music. But more important then what he does, he is an amazing person. Kind hearted polite and of course funny.
BlackaDidanca - who is the resident dancer for the PlaybackTour who offers a little extra spark of entertainment. A star in his own right. Known for his abilities as a dancehall dancer he is the little something special that gets thrown onto the stage. Not to mention the jokes he is filled with.
Dino - the ‘Boss’ who although isn’t always on the road with the guys his importance to the outcome still remains. Managing an artist can never be an easy task but luckily for Collie, Dino is a down-to-earth guy filled with laughs and always looking out for the best interest of the crew. He is also an epic A&R rep as well he Mojiza’s CEO
NimaFadavi - the resident DJ for LosRakas who knows just what he is doing on stage cause the sound that comes from him just gets you dancing. And although a little quieter then the other crew members he omits a wonderful humble quality that gains instant respect.
and not to forget the equally important crew members - DJGenie/Andre Chris BigBooda Bennett Matthew ‘Dj Smokey’ Harper
There are countless reasons why I have so much respect for everyone of these guys but as of now there are more reasons why I luv them. I credit all of them with having great hearts as well as being funny and that goes a long way. At the end of it all they are just normal guys (and Alexis) doing what they love to do and I will give the most credit to their work going so smoothly with the fact that they can all vibe together and share laughs on and off the stage and on and off tour.
A Very Special Thank You to Mr Colin Harper, Mr PeeWee and Mr Dino Delvaille;
From me to you, thank you for all the love and respect that you showed me and my girls. Thank you for making me feel like I was the special one in the room and for treating me like one of your friends rather than a fan. I admire and respect everything you guys do and everything you are about. Much Love from your number one.. lets say supporter ;)
You can follow all the crew members on twitter :)
@CollieBuddz @DinoDeal @Dupazz @PeeWee522 @DJGenie
@NewKingstonLive @LadyAlexis247 @LosRakas @BlackaDiDanca @BigBooda
@DJSmokey103 @IneffableMusic @NimaFadaviBeats @Tahirpanton @NKstephen
@DjCourtneyP @MOJIZA @SVCarib @HarperDigital
[if i forgot anyone I’m very sorry didn’t mean too]
“Last night I laid within your continent
Sought salvation from frustration
with in your loving nation
found the true meaning of homeland
when you let me inland
Swahili tongue knew I hadn’t been there before
kissed for me to stay awhile
I did you one better and stayed forever, in your country
Then you let me tap your virgin drum
releasing echoes of me being free
Free to run through your countryside
touching jasmine, dropping weed
Free to nibble on your Nigeria
Blow on your Botswana
Eat your Opia til there is no more Opia left
Won’t be any leftovers when I’m done
Won’t be anything when I’m done
Just remembrance of that night when I laid within your continent
seeking salvation from frustration within your loving nation
and that’s all we’ll have
That, and a few thousand orphans to read this poem”
On February 24, 1979 the story of an underrated star, that has only reached the peak of the beginning, had begun. Damian Beckett was born in Kingston Jamaica within a generation that had given the capital of the beautiful country one of the highest murder rates in the world (according to the UN estimates). On top of the crime filled streets of which Beckett was born to call home Beckett endured all odds. Being raised in the presences of a little studio and music surrounding him, by the time Beckett was a teenager he began to dedicate himself to use his baritone voice and develop his microphone skills.
He began working closely with Madhouse Productions [producer Dave Kelly] throwing classic after classic under his belt. Finally in 2000 Beckett (under his stage name Baby Cham) released his debut album entitled WOW… The Story. The 2 disc debut included some of Beckett’s signature songs such as ‘Many Many’, ‘Babylon Bwoy’, and “Que Sera/Hottie Hottie Crew” as well featured some big names in the music world such as Foxy Brown Bounty Killer and Shaggy. Beckett had a hand in composing all but 3 of the songs on his debut album further more showing casing the talent this up-and-coming artist had. The Miami New Times claimed that Beckett’s debut album Wow… The Story as “the most anticipated album in years from any reggae artist,”
Noted from www.cham-music.com ;
“The album opened a whole heap of doors, but at the same time a lot of doors were closed on me. We had the biggest song in dancehall but at the time some industry heads were claiming that ‘dancehall can’t do this’ and ‘dancehall can’t do that’.” Beckett stated.
Although the artist was not wrong to make such a statement something we always much keep in mind is that there are always going to be people there trying to tear you down and will say whatever they want to criticize what you do. Luckily enough any doubts the artist may have had all became irrelevant thanks to a little “Vitamin S”. In 2003 Beckett’s crossover song entitled “Vitamin S” hit sound systems across the globe. The single, set to Madhouse Records “Fiesta” rhythm, was the slap in the face that the critics needed and undoubtedly proved Beckett as a force to be reckoned with.
With the success of Beckett’s debut album setting in, the cries for a sophomore album were being herd among fans and music lovers worldwide. Beckett continued to work with producer Dave Kelly [Madhouse Records] both of whom didn’t want to rush the record for a quick buck, instead they both saw eye to eye and wanted the follow up to be up to standard. Kelly is the masterminded producer behind some of dancehall/reggaes biggest names working with artists like Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie and Anthony ‘Beenie Man’ Davis. As well as producing some of the greatest ‘riddims’. According to Beckett, he and Kelly have a musical chemistry.
The title of the sophomore album was “Ghetto Story” taking inspiration from the troubles that faced daily like during the mid 2000’s on the streets of Kingston. By 2006 Beckett (under Atlantic Madhouse Records) released “Ghetto Story” where Kelly produced every song on the album, as well it featured another set of big music makers such as Alicia Keys (who featured on Part 2 of the title track) Akon (who featured on part 3 of the title track) and household name Rihanna. Telling the “ugly truth” behind what some would agree it was like to have been born and raised in the streets of Kingston.
Currently Beckett who is now known as ‘Cham’ stays true to who he was from the get go and continues to have something to say and truths to tell. Asking youths questions that others would be to hesitant to ask, or criticizing things that people are scared to even discuss. Politics in the government, politics in the street, the bloodshed and the choices being made by the people of Kingston and of the world.
An artist such as Beckett never ceases to amaze me. The only disappointment I have is in the lack of appreciation people have for his talents. If music lovers these days weren’t so narrow minded and wanted to hear something other than the next weed song or club anthem they would see just how talented Beckett is and everything he has to say. However do not misunderstand me, Beckett has laid down some great club anthems and continues to do so as he is still consistently heard on the radio. My point is simply that there is a whole other side to him as an artist and that’s the side of him I wish could get a little more exposure. If we would just hear his words, if we could go beyond listening and actually hear. Beckett’s words could change the mind of a young teenager at a crossroads, or save a person from breaking down at a point of weakness. These are the things that make Beckett an inspiration to me. I suggest if you don’t know, get to know.
From a music lover to a musical inspiration.
“Why they want to see Buju Banton cry? Is it because i say ‘boom bye bye’ is it because i say ‘selassie I’ is it because I’m black and not shy? “ – Sir Mark Anthony Myrie
The 37 year old Reggae,Dancehall, Reggae fusion, Roots Reggae Crossover artist should have been celebrated today as a high in Myrie’s career, however tomorrow marks a sort of judgment. Although fans want to scream congratulations, for the reggae artists Grammy win earlier tonight, they are to busy screaming #FreeBuju.
Myrie’s stage name holds meaning to him and his fans and is well suited for such an artist. Buju Banton; Buju meaning “breadfruit” was a name given to Myrie as a child by his mother (a name given to chubby children). Banton is a word originating in Jamaica in reference to someone who is a respected storyteller.
Myrie’s story started from birth being the youngest of fifteen children descending directly from the Maroons; a group once enslaved Africans who eventually became freedom fighters and for centuries fought the British and eventually obtained a treaty giving them semi-autonomy in Jamaica.
At the young and tender age of twelve the then nicknamed “ Gargamel” picked up a mic and began what would soon become his life working with the Sweet Love and Rambo Mango sound systems. By 1987 Myrie released his first single entitled “The Ruler” and by 1988 Myrie released the still controversial “Boom bye bye”
In 1991 Myrie joined Penthouse Records which lead to the relationship between him and Dave Kelly (who now respectfully launched his own Madhouse Records). Myrie made history in 1992 with his chart toppers “Bogle” and “Love Me Browning” as well as “Woman fi Sex”. His success that year was measured quickly to Bob Marley when he broke the record Marley held for the greatest number of number one singles in a year.
In 1993 after some controversy in the previous year regarding the re-release of “Boom bye bye” Myrie released his sophomore album entitled Voice Of Jamaica. The album had a more conscious vibe to it and it promoted things such a safe sex in the song `Willy dont be Silly`(profits that supported charities for children with aids).
Myrie`s words were truthful and never sugar coated. Regardless of what the critics had to say Myrie stayed true to what he believed in and his music reflected that. His words often spoke of violence which as North Americans its easy for us to deem as “bad“ or `negative` but what we dont always realize is that violence, rape, drugs, gunmen and warlords those are a way of life in a lot of Caribbean countries and still is today. It does not mean that the people are proud because they sing of it, music is just a way of expression and education for those who can go beyond listening and actually hear what is being said.
By late 1994 Myrie transformation became more apparent embracing the Rastafari moment growing dreadlocks. He also joined `conscious vibe deejay Tony Rebel, Papa San and General Degree in the Yardcore Collective. Myrie`s music and performance began to take a more spiritual tone.
In 1995 Myrie slightly crossed over to roots reggae which differs from dancehall reggae through using a studio band rather than synthesized music. His album entitled Til Shiloh contained more conscious lyrics which the artist claims was a reflection of his Rastafarian beliefs.
Myrie`s career continued on this path for the remainder of the late `90s. By 2000 Myrie released Unchained Spirit which showcased some of Myrie`s most diverse work. Working with talents such as Morgan Heritage and Steven Marley. Aswell starting the decade were several other singles that displayed a mellower more introspective approach. In 2003 he released the record `Friends for Life“ which included the strongly political `Mr Nine“the proclaimed ànti-gun song that further confirmed his role as one of reggae musics most socially aware artists.
By 2006 the fans and music industry anticipated the acclaimed `too Bad` which brought Myrie back to the dancehall roots that once put him on the charts. Myrie`s success continued to follow him and in 2009 he released “Rasta got Soul“ and although this album was a work in progress over several years it was finally released on April 21st 2009 which marked the 43rd anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s historic visit to Jamaica in 1966. He also took his fourth grammy nod for this album. - Myrie was previously acknowledged by the Recording Academy for his albums Too Bad (2007) Friends for Life (2004) and Inna Heights (1999).
In December 2009 D.E.A agents took Myrie into custody in his Miami-area home, thereafter he was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession of more then 5kilos of cocaine. Myrie was released on bond posted by Stephen Marley and has since been on house arrest. Although being detained and on house arrest Myrie released Before the Dawn (his latest album) which won a Grammy on February 13th 2011 for reggae album of the year; the day before Myrie is set to face trial.
Verdict or not Myrie has made a name for himself as one of the Reggae music communities most successful voice of his generation and is beloved all over the world by his fans. Myrie has always had a message for the people and has always stayed true to who he believes himself to be and in a world which is doing its best day and night to make us anyone else, being yourself means to fight the hardest battle and never give up.
From a music Lover to a music Maker; Bless the path makers and wall breakers of the reggae music community.
I built us, but you went and broke us.
So try as i might, i slowly fixed us.
Until you destroyed us.
Now i shall rebuild…
But it will never be the same.
Some will say better and some worse.
Never-the-less it will be different.
The damaged you have caused is there.
Impermeably and forever,
I am; we are; this is, changed.